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November 25, 2013 12:05 pm

Secret U.S.-Iran Talks Date Back to March 2013

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South façade of the White House. Photo: CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade via WikiMedia Commons. – A series of five secret talks between the U.S. and Iran preceded the new deal reached in Geneva, a White House official revealed.

“When President [Hassan] Rouhani was elected and indicated a new direction, we decided to take that seriously and to test it,” an anonymous U.S. official said, Reuters reported.

Several top American officials, including Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to Vice-President Joe Biden, were involved in secret talks with Iran as early as March 2013 in Muscat, Oman, while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still Iran’s president. But most of these talks came after Rouhani was elected president.

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These talks were warily approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to Iranian officials.

U.S. officials also briefed Israeli leaders on “substantive conversations on an individual basis” during these secret talks.

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